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Work experience key to graduate jobs

Research suggests that work experience while still at university is becoming a key route into employment for graduates, with more than one-third of the available graduate vacancies in 2012 expected to be taken by people who worked for the company while studying.

The recent survey of leading graduate employers by graduate specialists High Fliers Research found that 36% of openings on offer are likely to be filled by applicants who previously worked for the company while at university. More than half of recruiters say that they are unlikely to recruit graduates with no previous work experience at all, suggesting that relevant work experience is increasingly becoming just as important for recruiters as academic qualifications.

Despite a forecasted rise in available jobs for graduates in 2012 in comparison with recent years, job numbers have yet to return to pre-recession levels, meaning that competition is still likely to be tough. This year's new graduates also face increased competition from previous graduates, with recruiters reporting that around a third of this year's applications have come from those who graduated in 2011 or earlier.

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